Monday, April 12, 2010

Now's The Time - a novel by Larry Strauss

Now's The Time - a novel by Larry Strauss ( English) Now's The Time - een roman van Larry Strauss( Nederlands)

Man, and we soloed, it was upstairs to God let him know that this was the time. Yeah ......
Hans Koert

Today I love to point you to a novel, entitled Now's The Time, written by Larry Strauss. No, this blog didn't change its bread and butter. The novel Now's The Time is a jazz novel, about a young black woman, who is a jazz trumpet player, Didi Heron, who loves to know the story behind the death of her father. Her father, Billy Heron, a famed jazz piano player, died in a car accident, February, 1956, twenty years earlier. Now, in 1976, Didi is a young trumpet player who tries to make a living in jazz with her Didi Heron Quartet. In her search finding more information about her father, she learns that a tape was made during the last gig. A note in her father's belongings reads: Listen to tape of tonight. Red Young, her father's former drummer tells Didi: That tape, you know, it was the only thing made it, really. Somehow, when the car flipped, the tape musta flew out. Big old reel-to-reel box of tape. Landed on a snow drift they told me. But where is that tape? Together with Red Young, the drummer, she tries to turn up that tape again: A quest for her father's musical legacy.

Now's The Time - a novel by Larry Strauss ( cover design and all photos in this contribution: Karen Parker)

The book, which is all fiction, gives you a good inside view of the 1950s jazz scene, about gigs, drugs and racial discrimination. Larry uses "real" jazz characters, like Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Nat Cole, to name some. besides fictive characters. Larry shows his knowledge about the American jazz scene of the 1950s and reading it, the book gives you a good impression about this period. Larry was inspired by the lives of Clifford Brown and Hank Mobley.

Clifford Brown (1930 - 1956) died in a car accident in June 1956. On the 22nd of May, 1956 Max Roach and Clifford Brown started a summer tour along clubs; first week the quintet performs at the Patio Club in Washington DC, and then it plays for another week at the Cotton Club in Cleveland, Ohio; gigs in The Rouge in River Rouge, Michigan and a gig at the Continental Restaurant in Norfolk, what happened to become his last performances that was taped. One of the last live concerts at the Cotton Club in Cleveland (Ohio) featuring Clifford Brown on trumpet, Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone, Richie Powell on piano, George Morrow on bass and Max Roach on drums was released by Rare Live Recordings as Clifford Brown / Max Roach Quintet - The Last Concert. On the 26th of June, 1956, a week after the Norfolk concert Clifford Brown and Richie Powell, the younger brother of Bud Powell, pass away at a car accident.
The title of the book, Now's The Time, refers to one of the tunes that was played during Billy Heron's final concert: What tunes did you play? Red stopped chewing: That was about twenty years ago, my sweet. I do know how we ended the first set. How's that? "Now's The Time". You know the Bird had just died and we honoured him toward the close of the first set ......... No, wait a minute. Wasn't the end of the first set. .. That was something else .. Can't remember. But we did honour the Bird. During the second set I do believe now. In the middle. Towards the end. Was a regular thing. .... This night it was Now's The Time ..... Man, and we soloed, it was upstairs to God let him know that this was the time. Yeah ......
Charlie Parker recorded Now's The Time at his first Savoy recording session in November 1945 with his Reboppers, featuring Miles Davis on trumpet, "Hen Gates" at the piano ( = none other than Dizzy Gillespie), Charlie Parker on alto saxophone, Curly Russell on the bass and Max Roach on drums. I found this tune as a sound track for a small cartoon animation made by Simone Pazienza. Enjoy: Now’s the Time – Charlie Parker’s Rebobbers.

Larry Strauss is a high school teacher living in Los Angeles and writes about jazz and jazz-related subjects. He has his own blog, Carvin' The Vaults. He wrote novels like One Man One Vote, Unfinished Business and Fake Out. He plays both the piano as the trombone and became interested in Jazz when he began to dislike the popular rock and soul music. Now’s The Time is a literary chronicle of Didi’s musical journey. She ends up befriending Red Young, the drummer on that historic yet fateful date two decades before and travelling to various points across the country in a search for the missing tape. It’s hard to say what she’s looking for. And it’s even more difficult to say what she finds. Maybe she knows and doesn’t know how to express it. Or maybe she knows and just doesn’t care what anybody else thinks about it. Maybe author Strauss knows too and thinks we should figure it out. It’s like jazz. It’s up to us. Either you get it or you don’t. (Doug Payne)

If you like to read about Jazz this novel is worth searching for. Get yours today !!

A wonderful intriguing journey, I feel like Red and Didi are old friends. I saw the colours, smelled the aromas, and heard the music! Bravo!! (Dwight Trible - jazz vocalist of the Pharoah Sanders Quartet). Now's The time - A Novel ( Larry Strauss) ( Kearney Street Books - Bellingham, WA 98227) - ISBN: 0-9723706-7-6

Hans Koert

In the 1950s the jazz scene in the US developed from bebop into hard bop and west coast jazz and numerous, now legendary musicians, like Bird, Dizzy, Lee and Donald Byrd runned the show, but a lot of less famous musicians tried to make a living in a scene charactized by booze and drugs. Larry Strauss wrote a novel about Didi Heron, a fictive trumpet player, in a search for her father's last concert which was recorded on an ordinary reel-to-reel. The Keep Swinging blog loves to introduce you to this kind of caracters of an era. If you don't want to miss any, register and I'll send you the weekly news letter.

Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

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Anonymous Lofi said...

Hi Durium...This book sounds like a real good read!! I 'll try to check it out!!Thanks for letting us know about it
(Melbourne - Australia)
(Blindman Blues forum)

6:15 AM  

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